OCEAN PARK - Linda Moulton had a lifelong fascination with Native American bead work. But it wasn't until she lived in tiny Judith Gap, Mont., nine years ago that she learned to work with beads herself.
"I've always admired beautiful bead work," she said.
A descendant of Flathead and French Canadian Indians, the Nebraska native said she was living in Judith Gap, which she describes as "A very wild place," when she met an antler-shop owner in Lewistown, Mont. "He asked me if I did bead work," Moulton said. "When I said 'no,' he offered to teach me. He said 'Anything you make will sell.'"
Besides beading, the store owner taught Moulton how to paint feathers and how to work with leather. "He bought whatever I made and taught me a lot, too," she said. "I've been doing it ever since."
After Moulton moved to Ocean Park seven years ago, she began selling her work at the now out of business Cougar Tracks shop in Long Beach. Her work can now be seen at Gemstrand at 509 South Pacific Highway in Long Beach, in the former Debi's restaurant space. She makes gunslings, camera straps drums, leather bags, rattles, custom-fit moccasins in all sizes including newborn, jewelry, hairclips, checkbook and wallet covers, belt buckles and Native American pottery. "Anything you want beaded, I can do," she says.
Moulton and her partner, Mike Allen, opened Clay Feather Pottery Studio at 2515 Bay Ave., in Ocean Park but suffered a setback in July when much of their equipment, including a raku kiln, was stolen in a burglary. Allen, who is one-quarter Cherokee, also works in pottery, which Moulton paints in Native American designs. The store is open by appointment by calling 665-0722.
Moulton also is working on an authentic Plains Indian headdress and plans to produce an authentic Native American vest.